97% Of Young Women Have Been Sexually Harassed In UK, Survey Finds

by : Niamh Shackleton on :
97% Of Young Women Have Been Sexually Harassed In UK, Survey FindsPA Images/Pexels

A new survey has found that 97% of young woman in Britain have been sexually harassed. 

The harrowing statistics released today, March 10, are being described as a ‘human rights crisis’ with many of the women subjected to the harassment stating that they had lost faith that the abuse will be dealt with.


The survey conducted by UN Women UK found that 97% of women aged 18 to 24 had been sexually harassed, while 80% of women of all ages said they had been harassed in public spaces.

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Claire Barnett, executive director of UN Women UK, said that this is an issue needs addressing immediately.

As per The Guardian, she said:


This is a human rights crisis. It’s just not enough for us to keep saying ‘this is too difficult a problem for us to solve’ – it needs addressing now.

We are looking at a situation where younger women are constantly modifying their behaviour in an attempt to avoid being objectified or attacked, and older women are reporting serious concerns about personal safety if they ever leave the house in the dark – even during the daytime in winter.

96% of the 1,000 survey respondents didn’t report the harassment they endured with 45% believing that even if they had, it wouldn’t have changed anything.

According to UN Women UK, some women who had been groped, followed and coerced into sexual activity felt that the incident wasn’t serious enough to report.

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In the wake of these statistics, UN Women UK has started a campaign calling on the country’s leaders to make public spaces safer for everyone.

Barnett explained, ‘We’ve seen really strong results elsewhere in the world. Our problem now is that sometimes in the UK, we think we are a leading light in terms of progress, and we forget to work on the gender-based violence that still happens every day at home, especially to women and marginalised groups.’

Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, says she finds it unsurprising that many women have lost faith in the system.

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She told The Guardian, ‘If you talk about wolf-whistling or street harassment in the UK, you are liable to find yourself on the front page of a tabloid being called a ‘feminazi’ and accused of overreacting, so of course young women don’t think that they’ll be taken seriously if they come forward.’

Bates went on to say that the idea that young women simply have to put up with harassment is a normalisation that needs to be changed.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.  

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Life, Now, sexual harassment, survey, UK


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Almost all young women in the UK have been sexually harassed, survey finds